tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC September 27, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
welcome to "world news." and tonight, sneak attack. hackers in the middle east targeting u.s. banks, freezing millions out of their accounts right now. is your money in danger? head to head. as early voting begins, obama and romney adjust their closing arguments in the battleground of virginia. up close and personal new ads before their big showdown next week. inside job. tsa agents are supposed to screen your luggage, so, how did our stolen ipad end up in this officer's home. brian ross with hundreds of tsa officers caught red handed. and mona lisa mystery. you know the masterpiece. but could this be a second mona lisa? it was a claim that shocked the world today, so, we put it to the test.
good evening. diane is on special assignment this thursday. we're going to tell you about that in a bit. but we begin tonight with cyber warfare. the most extensive attack on american banks ever. launched from the middle east, hatching right now. citigroup, bank of america, wells fargo, u.s. bank corp and today, pnc. america's biggest banks, with millions of american families locked out of their accounts online. so, what does it mean for your money? who is behind it? how long has it been happening? officials across the government are tracking the attacks, working to keep them from becoming financial nightmares. abc's gene your justice correspondent pierre thomas starts us off. >> reporter: tonight, the financial and banking industry is on high alert as a massive cyber attack remains under way.
potentially millions of customers trying bank online this past week blocked. among the targets, bank of america, pnc, and wells fargo. >> there is an elevated level of threat. the treat lel is now high. >> reporter: sources tell abc news it is a denial of service attack, where hackers from the middle east have secretly commandeered thousands of computers worldwide. those computers, or zombies, have overwhelmed bank websites with a barrage of electronic traffic. different banks have been targeted different days. today was pnc's turn. we tried for three hours to get on pnc's webse, but we couldn't get through. on facebook today, frustrated customers. cynthia wrote, "trying to pay bills. this is ridiculous." stacy posted, "hopefully it can be up soon. never realized how dependent i am on it." a group of hackers calling themselves izz ad din al qassam
warned the financial industry it was going to attack in retaliation for that controversial film that sparked outrage in the muslim world. the scary thing is that even with the warning -- the attack could be stopped. the u.s. suspects hackers in iran may be involved. >> this is the first time that we know about, where a middle eastern entity, perhaps a middle eastern government, has attacks websites of critical inf infrastructure in the united states. >> reporter: the hackers have not been able to steal any money in these attacks or disrupt financial markets, but authorities fear the next generation of wide scale cyber assaults could be far more devastating. >> and if they get inside the banks, they can move money around and cause financial chaos. >> so, pierre, the hackers are blanketing the banks with these attacks, but so far, everyone's money is safe. >> reporter: that's right, george. to be clear, no money has been stolen yet. but many people trying to bank online could not for a time get access to their accounts. you can see how that could make it difficult for a small business. so, that's why tonight, the government is working so hard to locate and block those ongoing
attacks. >> okay, thank you. the race for the white house now. your voice, your vote. and with 40 days to go, voters lined up in iowa, a big turnout for the start of early voting there. and it comes as the candidates are closing in on that first debate next wednesday. we got a previous of that faceoff today in the battleground of virginia. abc's david muir has been traveling with the romney campaign, he's here now. with the clock ticking, romney recalibrating his message just a bit. >> reporter: it could seem so. noticeable changes on the trail. romney using words we haven't heard from him before, saying, my heart aches when he hears stories of economic hardship. pushing a compassionate side. tonight, sometng else. both candidates chasing each other today and you're about to hear a real preview of the debate before they even get to the stage. call it the duel before the debate. the president and mitt romney chasing each other across the same states. in virginia today, the president today making it clear what we're about to hear more of in theses final weeks. more about romney's comments about the 47%. >> i don't believe we can get
very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims, who never take responsibility for their own lives. >> reporter: while romney today making it clear he'll bring it back to the economy, firing back with new numbers just today, growth in this country slower than we thought. >> look at the numbers that just came out on the growth of our economy. 1.3% versus russia at 4%. china at 7% to 8%. we're at 1.3%. this is unacceptable. >> reporter: and both candidates, out with new ads, looking straight to camera, a direct appeal. romney in a plaid shirt, no tie, looking to show a compassionate side. >> president obama and i both care about poor and middle class families. the difference is my policies will make things better for them. >> reporter: and the president, that table behind him, with what he would say if invited to yours. >> when i took office, we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs
a month, and were mired in iraq. today, i believe that as a nation we are moving forward >> reporter: and just as romney tries to convince voters of empathy, an image from the campaign of a young romney, a missionary overseas, missing his girlfriend, ann. his hear then as romney works to show heart now. >> hi heart aches for the people i've seen. i was, yesterday, with a woman who was emotional and she said, "look, i've been out of work since may." she was in her 50s. she said, i don't see any prospects. >> reporter: the big debate less than a week away. the president is going to nevada for debate prep and governor romney is going to practice more this weekend. i did ask the governor about nerves, if he's worried. he said he's not. he's ready to draw the line, the differences between the two. but you know a lot is riding on this. >> could be make or break. you'll be there next wednesday. thank you, david. now, to an explosive headline about the 9/11 attack in libya that killed four americans, including america's ambassador, chris stevens, the white hou. the white house described it as a mobile riot, talk bed, officials called it a terrorist
attack, highly engineered and de deadly. abc's jake tapper has the details. >> reporter: that's right, george, and this 180 comes on the heels of criticism that the white house downplayed this terrorist attack, less than two months before the election. secretary of defense leon panetta today acknowledged that the attack that killed four americans in benghazi, libya, on the anniversary of 9/11 was not only carried out by terrorists, it was premeditated. >> as we determined the details of what took place there and how that attack took place, that it became clear that there were terrorists who had planned that attack. >> reporter: the white house first suggested that the benghazi attack was spontaneous. the result of that anti-muslim video inciting mobs throughout the region. >> jake, let's be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had been spread to the region. >> reporter: what happened at
benghazi -- >> we certainly don't kn. we don't know otherwise. we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. >> reporter: but sources tell abc news that intelligence officials on the ground immediately suspected that the attack was not tied to the movie at all. arousing their suspicion? the fact that the attackers knew where to get ambassador stevens after he'd fled to a so-called safe house, half a mile away. the building was hit with insurgent mortars, suggesting the terrorists knew what they were doing. some administration sources tell abc news they were concerned after the white house began pushing the line that they attack was spontaneous and not the work of terrorists. the white house says assessments have changed over time as intelligence has been confirmed. president obama has repeatedly said the investigation is on to find the killers and bring them to justice. and george, abc news has confirmed that the fbi, which has been dispatched to libya to lead the investigation, has not even reached benghazi yet, 16
days after the attack, largely due to safety concerns. now, officials worry, by the time the officials from the fbi get to the site, it will have been picked clean, george. >> such a dangerous situation right now. okay, jake, thank you. and at the united nations today, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu took place with a new and pretty low tech prop. you see that drawing of a bomb, designed to make his point that iran's nuclear program must be stopped before the moment next year where they'll be able to build a bomb. he argued that iran will back down if the world tries a clear red line. and today, the nation's top doctors at the centers for disease control sounded the alarm about this year's flu season, which starts next month. they urged every american to consider getting a flu shot, saying that even though last year's season was mild, this year's could be, quote, unpredictable. about 42% of us get a flu shot each year. half as many as the cdc sugge suggests. they urged all pregnant women, those over the age of 65 and children over 6 months.
and we move on now to good news for professional football fans. the ref reaches will be back on the field tonight, the professional ones, thanks to a new deal with the nfl. and for everyone angry about monday's blown call by the replacement refs, there was something else. an apology. abc's david kerley is standing by at the stadium in baltimore where the refs are back in business tonight. david? >> reporter: hey, george. tonight, behind me, the real refs will be working the game. in fact, just a little while ago, we saw this referee team arrive here in baltimore, headed to the locker room to put on their striped shirts. all this, after an apology today after what some are calling the worst call in nfl history. nfl players couldn't contain their glee. >> they did? sweet! >> reporter: a great day for america, the white house said. the lockout over, the referees back. but the nfl's reputation is badly bruised. >> do i look relieved? >> reporter: the commissioner made the deal just two days after this call monday night by
replacement refs, giving a win to seattle instead of green bay. >> the call on the field stands. touchdown. >> reporter: some say it cost betters hundreds of millions of dollars. but it was 70,000 phone calls to the league and hundreds of thousands of tweets, which led the commissioner to apologize today. >> we're sorry to have to bring our fans, sorry to bring the general public through that. >> reporter: josh kribs tweeted k "it's about time. it was deaf anily necessary." the refs ended up getting what they wanted. a pay boost and more pension money in the aftermath of the now infamous call. now, the ref who made the call on monday stands by it, he says he made the right call. that quote really just a footnote as the real refs get a warm reception back on the gridiron. george? >> i bet they will, david. thank you. and now to what could be a break in a very cold case. what happened to jimmy hoch fa, the union boss who disappeared 37 years ago? there have been all kinds of rumors about where he ended up, and now, thanks to a death bed
tip, this mystery might soon be solved. abc's john donvan is on the beat. >> reporter: following a tip from a dying man, police are looking at this property in roseville, michigan, at the driveway, to be specific, under which may lie the solution to a 37-year-old national mystery. what ever happened to jimmy of hoffa? and where did they dump the bold? it's all marked up. tomorrow, they'll bring in the digger to rip it open. >> this is a cold case homicide. >> reporter: it's always been assumed that hoffa, once a powerful president of the teamsters union, who then did jail time for bribery, was killed off by the mob, after he walked out of this detroit restaurant in july 1975. >> i'm going to do what i got to do! >> reporter: it became the stuff of documentaries and movies, like 1992's "hoffa." over the years, many theories and a few leads. an early one, that hoffa's body was entombed in concrete during the construction of giants' stadium, which was knocked down two years ago. later, going on tips,
police drained an dug up a backyard pool outside of detroit. three years later, they pulled down a barn in rural michigan. nothing. this latest tip comes from a still anonymous source said to be dying of cancer, who says he saw a body placed here in 1975, as the driveway was being laid. police are not sure what they'll find. >> if it happens to be mr. hoffa, we'll bring an end to a major histomis mystery. >> reporter: as for hoffa's dna, if any is down there, authorities pulled hairs from a hairbrush of hoffa's 11 years ago. that's the match, if it's made, that will solve the mystery of where he ended up. but still not the part about who put him there. john donvan, abc news, washington. and still ahead on "world news," the tsa officer and the stolen ipad. confronted by brian ross, he blames it on his wife. and he's not the only one taking valuables. what's going wrong at the tsa, next. americans are always ready to work hard for a better future.
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prosecutors say the tsa officer caught on this airport surveillance tape in memphis was stealing from one. first, at an empty ticket counter, he stashes a laptop left behind at a checkpoint. then, drapes a jacket over the laptop and walks away. in this case, the tsa officer was caught, convicted and fired. >> this is the tip of the iceberg. >> reporter: new figures show 81 tsa officers have been fired for threat. 11 this year alone. amid what critics call a culture of indifference and lax oversight. >> man, that was easy. >> reporter: pythius brown stole $800,000 in a four-year period. he said he would be tipped off and overhead cameras weren't working and others did the same thing. >> it became massive. >> reporter: massive? >> yeah. >> reporter: you weren't the
only one? >> no. >> reporter: in our own investigation, involving ten major airports with a history of problems, abc news checked backs with ipads and cash and left behind ipads at tsa checkpoints. all the luggage made it past tsa safely. and at carry-on checkpoints, tsa screening officers did exactly what they are trained to do. >> please come back to claim your item. >> reporter: but it was a different story in orlando, where our ipad was last seen in the hands of this tsa officer, andy ramirez. two hours later, we were able to track the ipad, as it left the airport and ended up at the tsa officer's home. brian ross from abc news. give me a hand here. we're looking for a missing ipad. >> missing ipad? >> reporter: yeah. when we went to reclaim the i pad two weeks later, ramirez, at first, denied having it. >> okay. >> reporter: is it here? >> no, sir. >> reporter: shortly after we
activated an autd owe alarm on the missing ipad. >> you found it? there it is. ramirez produced it. with his tsa uniform now off, he blamed his wife for taking it. >> my wife says she got the ipad and brought it home. >> reporter: that can't be true. the last time we saw it, it was in your hands. ramirez was fired late yesterday by the tsa, which incysts it has a zero tolerance policy for stealing. >> i cannot believe he blamed it on his wife. that is something. you're going to have a lot more of your investigation tonight on "nightline." thank you, brian. and coming up, when are mcdonald's fries a smart choice? and are sweet potato fries always the healthy choice? some deep fried surprises, when we come back. ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] you've been years in the making. and there are many years ahead. join the millions of members who've chosen
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for androgel 1.62%. what are you waiting for? this is big news. today, we may have gotten the best evidence yet of water, maybe even life of mars. here is what the nasa rover found. an ancient stream bed, tiny rocks the size of gravel, their edges smoothed by rushing water. a stream nasa estimates was 25 miles long with waist-high water. and you got to love this tweet from nasa. a river ran through it. and all of you french fry lovers better take notes right now. researchers for a new diet book compared fries from popular restaurants and came up with this reality check. five guys is the biggest diet buster. one large portion, nearly 1,500 calories. 71 grams of fat. mcdonald's, a nice surprise. a small has just 230 calories, 11 grams of fat. and it turns out that sweet potato fries aren't always the
healthiest option. at the cheesecake factory, they have 400 more calories than regular fries. and when we come back, take a look at mona lisa, like you've never seen her before. younger, happier, but is she the real deal? the mystery rocking the art real deal? the mystery rocking the art world. my moderate to severe [ designer ]gh of just p plaque psoriasis. i decided enough is enough. ♪ [ spa lady ] i started enbrel. it's clinically proven to provide clearer skin. [ rv guy ] enbrel may not work for everyone -- and may not clear you completely, but for many, it gets skin clearer fast, within 2 months, and keeps it clearer up to 9 months. [ male announcer ] because enbrel®, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal, events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred. before starting enbrel, your doctor should test you for tuberculosis and discuss whether you've been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. don't start enbrel if you have an infection like the flu.
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and finally tonight, could a priceless painting actually be a copy? mona lisa, da vinci's mysterious masterpiece is now being challenged by a younger rival. her owners, of course, have millions of reasons to believe their painting is the original. so, abc's jeffrey kofman takes a close look so you can decide for yourself. >> reporter: could it be? the most famous painting in the world now has a twin? >> mona lisa -- leonardo's earlier version. >> reporter: that's what the owners of the so-called isleworth mona lisa told the world today. hidden in a swiss bank vault for almost half a century, it emerged accompanied by a stack of "evidence" meant to prove that this was day v vinci's fir version of this. a younger mona lisa. note the perkier smile. there are a lot of reasons to be
suspect of this wannabe da vinci. a second mona lisa? there are a lot of reasons to be suspect. one of them? it only surfaced here in 1914. there is no record of its existence before then. does it add up? >> well, it adds up to being an interesting copy. >> reporter: an interesting copy? >> no more than that. >> reporter: there are many reasons to believe this is a copy by a lesser artist. first, the younger painting is on canvas. leonardo painted on wood. the background on the younger mona lisa, is, well, muddy, not like the masterpiece. but the real give away? translucence. in the original, layers of light. they're just not there in the other one. >> when you look, you just go, wow. you look at that mona lisa and you go -- ah. >> reporter: a new leonardo would be worth at least $100 million. imagine, with only about 20 of his works in existence, how
exciting it would be to discover one more. jeffrey kofman, abc news, oxford. >> but a little too good to be true. and finally, we mentioned at the top that diane is on special assignment tonight. and what a happy one it is. you might remember the nearly six years ago, diane reported on the children of camden, new jersey. well, today, diane went back to celebrate, escorting some of those same children thriving in middle school now to their school gala. she'll be back tomorrow. thank you for watching tonight. check out "nightline" later. and i'll seal ye you tomorrow o "good morning americma "gma."